It’s a New Year

We have just completed a very busy and successful year. The celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) and the launch of Freedom 15, our debt-repayment campaign, will be remembered as two of the year’s highlights.

Our 2015 strategic plan is already well into development. Following are some the highlights we see coming up in this new year.

Our 2015 theme has been selected and titled. Mennonite Food: Tastes in Transition will be the focus of our exhibits and our Programing this year. For those who are acquainted with Mennonite food, it’s probably not a huge stretch to imagine a year-long theme based on this topic. But how many bowls of Borscht and Plueme Moos, and how many Vereniki with farmer sausage can one eat in a year? Rest assured, the exploration and celebration of this theme will not include an eating contest. To be sure, we will continue to serve great ethnic food throughout the year, but our theme will involve more than that.

Our topics of exploration will likely address questions such as these: Where did our Mennonite food items originate? What social and economic factors contributed to the popularity of particular items? How did migration impact popular foods? Which Mennonite groups have little or no exposure to the foods we consider to be ethnic staples at MHV? Our curators are already doing the research and are eager to share the resulting exhibits with our guests. Our program staff will incorporate this theme into our Education Program as well as our festival events.

Our collaboration with the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) will produce a new hands-on exhibit in the Main Gallery this year. We will be installing a touch-screen computer which will take our guests to the website of MWC, where they will be able to explore the various locations around the world where Mennonites live and learn more about Mennonite life in those locations. Some of us may be surprised to learn which countries have more Mennonites than Canada has.

We will continue to promote our Freedom 15 campaign. After a very successful launch in 2014, we will again invite supporters to invest in MHV by assisting us in the payment of our accumulated debt. Approximately 1/3 of it was paid in 2014.

Paying off our debt will make it that much easier for us to proceed with a building project that is already well into its planning stage. We expect to introduce a project shortly which will replace the large white tent we use on our grounds every summer with a permanent three-season building. It is being designed to provide our guests with all the functionality of the existing tent and much more. With a concrete floor, washrooms, a warming kitchen and other amenities, it will be a desirable venue for wedding receptions, company picnics, and other group functions. The washrooms will also be accessible to Livery Barn Restaurant patrons.

Other high-priority projects will include the installation of new humidifiers in the Village Center and the re-shingling of the Livery Barn Restaurant’s leaky roof. If sufficient money can be raised by way of grants and other donations, we will paint the Old Colony Worship House as well.

Calendar of Events

  • January 12 – The Village Centre re-opens for the 2015 season
  • February 1 – Vespers Service – 7:00 PM

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About the Author

Barry is the Executive Director of the Mennonite Heritage Village. While he does not consider himself to be a historian, he places a high value on the preservation and interpretation of the Mennonite and pioneer stories that help people of all ages understand and appreciate their heritage. Learn more about the MHV.

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